Are you a database professional seeking to polish your resume in the hopes of landing a better gig? Perhaps you're just getting started in database administration and you'd like to establish your credentials in the field. Database vendors offer a variety of professional certification programs that can help you advance your career while gaining valuable technical skills. After all, even the most seasoned professional has yet to fully explore some nook or cranny of the field that's covered on a certification exam.
So, where do you start? Most database certs are vendor-specific, so you'll want to earn a certification from the company that puts out the software you're currently working with or would like to work with in the future. We'll take a brief look at the credentials available from the major vendors.
If you're an Oracle guru, the Oracle Certified Professional program may be for you. There's one catch to this program, however. Before receiving any Oracle credential, all candidates must take at least one instructor-led course. If you're like me and you just want to pick up the book, study and take the exam, you're out of luck here. Oracle's program includes three tiers of certification, beginning with the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Associate (OCA), progressing through the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Professional (OCP) and culminating with the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Master (OCM). Each certification is version-specific, so you'll need to update your certification each time a new version of Oracle rolls off the production line.
On the other hand, if you work in a Microsoft shop, you should consider one of several certifications:
- If you're maintaining Microsoft Access databases for your organization, the simplest database credential is the Microsoft Office Specialist Access Track. This is a one-exam certification that covers basic knowledge of Microsoft Access 2003 and Access XP topics. Users of Access 2007 should instead prepare for the Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS) program.
- The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) credential is the entry-level certification for SQL Server professionals. The credential focuses on SQL Server 2012 skills and requires passing three exams.
- The Microsoft Certified Solutions Engineer (MCSE) credential is the premier certification for SQL Server administrators. It comes in two variations: a path focusing on database platforms and a second path for business intelligence professionals.
- The MySQL Associate (CMA) certification requires passing a single exam and attests to the holder's knowledge of basic MySQL skills.
- MySQL database administrators may earn the Certified MySQL Database Administrator (CMDBA) certification by passing two advanced examinations.
- Similarly, MySQL developers may earn the Certified MySQL Developer (CMDEV) credential with two development-focused exams.
- Finally, CMDBA holders may upgrade to MySQL Cluster certification by passing a single additional exam.